Terry reported that his father was still on strike at a factory outside Green Camp, Ohio. I have a hunch they are going to get some new union leaders in elections this month!
Racial tensions had been rising in Cleveland. Stokes signs (orange with black letters) are all over the place, Terry reported. When you see a bunch of Locher signs (red and blue), you know you're passing through a nationality area (Italian, Slavic, etc.) Council candidates who support Stokes have orange signs with black letters; those supporting Locher, red and blue. Right now I'm picking Stokes (perhaps hoping is a better word), but it's going to be awfully close.
However, we couldn't simply log on from a laptop. We had to write out our program using the Fortran language and take the coding sheet to another room in the basement.
The attendants would feed our stack of cards to the computer, which would read each card by sensing the locations of the holes and then attempt to run the encoded program. After maybe an hour, we'd get our cards back along with a printout of our results. Usually we'd made some mistake, so we'd have to do some more keypunching and resubmit the stack.
Over at Case, Terry was beginning to work toward an MBA degree. In his October letter, he enclosed a spare IBM card. As you might guess from the card, he wrote, I spent yesterday playing with, uh, using the computer. It was my first time, and I really got a kick out of it.
It was a program to read the hours worked, hourly rate, number of exemptions, and voluntary deductions of a worker and to output a wage statement. The first time I ran it through the computer, the output was exactly like I wanted it, but I got six diagnostic messages in the program. I found that I had put a PRINT message in the wrong columns and that I had forgotten to put a ) at the end of one of my FORMAT statements.
I retyped the two cards, ran them through the computer, and got one diagnostic message. After talking to one of the other guys, I found out what was wrong and was ready to run it again, when the computer broke down. That put both printers out of action for about twenty minutes.
Finally, I got the thing run through perfectly and left. It was then that it dawned on me that I had been so wrapped up doing the blasted thing that I had forgotten to go to one of my classes!
Another friend, Jack Heller, had recently transferred from Oberlin to Ohio State. I'll major in electrical engineering and advanced typing, he wrote me that month. So now, besides math I take chemistry, engineering graphics (glorified drafting), and engineering mechanics (computer programming).